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    Thursday Night Track & Field Report

    Hemann and Kunz Record Career Bests in Heptathalon for TAMU

    AUSTIN – Texas A&M’s multi-event sophomore pair of Jena Hemann and Annie Kunz both set career best scores in placing fourth and fifth in the Texas Relays heptathlon. Hemann scored 5,531 points, moving to No. 5 on the Aggie all-time list, while Kunz totaled 5,442 points, now No. 6 all-time.
     
    In B division field events A&M had a pair of runner-up performances with Chase Wolfle in the pole vault and Krystyn Bradley in the javelin. The Aggie 4 x 800 relay also placed second during Thursday’s action.
     
    An action packed Friday at Mike A. Myers Stadium will begin at 9:30 a.m. with qualifying races in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays along with the 100/110 hurdles and 100 meters. Events for the Aggies will continue throughout the day until the 4x1500 closes out the evening at 9 p.m. 
     
    Erica Bougard of Mississippi State claimed the heptathlon title with 5,649 points while Lindsay Vollmer of Kansas moved into second place with a score of 5,578 and Arkansas’ Makeba Alcide finished third with a 5,576.
     
    “After missing the NCAA Indoor field by a seven points, I just knew every point in each event is important,” said Hemann. “My main goal out here this weekend was to fight for each point I could get. I wanted to make sure I got a good score.
     
    “Coach and I talked before the 800 and he told me what I needed to do to score over 5,500. So I was pretty set to get that score.”
     
    Kunz noted: “When Jena and I do our best I think we can compete with the top competitors in the field. I think we make each other better when we compete together.”
     
    The second day of the heptathlon opened with the long jump. Kunz turned in a windy leap of 18-10 (3.7 wind) for 771 points while Hemann had a mark of 18-3.75 (1.8 wind) to score 723 points. In the javelin Hemann turned in the better performance with a toss of 136-10 for 700 points while Kunz fell back in her total score with only 433 points off a throw of 90-9.
     
    “I really surprised myself in the long jump after having PRs the day before in the hurdles and 200,” said Kunz. “I still have room for improvement in the javelin and shot put, but I still have a few weeks to work on those events before conference to get that down.”
     
    Closing the multi with the 800 meters, the Aggie tandem ran together. Kunz finished first in 2:24.20 while Hemann was a step behind in 2:24.42, scoring 767 and 764 points, respectively.
     
    “After yesterday I was a little upset with my high jump, but I didn’t let that get me down,” noted Hemann. “I was able to finish strong with a good 200 time. I was hoping to do really well in the long jump and the javelin, thinking I’d pick up some points there. When I didn’t score as well in the long jump I knew I had to make up those points in the javelin.” 
     
    The Aggie 4x800 relay, winners the past two years and holder of the meet record, finished second with a 7:31.16 behind a 7:29.51 for Texas while Kansas placed third in 7:37.82 following a disqualification for UCLA (7:34.61). 
     
    A&M’s foursome included James Bonn (1:51.9), Cameron Thornton (1:53.3), Henry Lelei (1:52.9) and Hector Hernandez (1:53.1). Windy conditions kept the field from approaching the Stadium and meet record of 7:15.99 set by the Aggies last year.
     
    Bradley challenged for a win in women’s B javelin as her best mark of 144-3 (43.96) was only bettered by a 151-2 (46.07) from Tanesha Blair of West Texas A&M. Annie Whitfield of Oregon finished third with a 143-9 (43.82) effort. Bradley led the field of 13 in the first round with an opening throw of 143-6 (43.74) and improved to 144-3 in the fifth round.
     
    Wolfle cleared 17-9 (5.41) in the pole vault on his first attempt to share the lead in the B division title with defending champion Thomas Reinecke of LSU and Rice’s Chris Pillow. In the initial tie-breaker of misses at the last height cleared, Wolfle and Reinecke were still tied on a first attempt clearance while Pillow needed three attempts.
     
    Going to the second tie-breaker, which includes total misses, Reinecke held the edge over Wolfle by one less miss and successfully defended his title while Wolfle finished second and Pillow placed third.
     
    Wolfle avoided early trouble when he made it over his opening height of 16-7.25 on his third attempt. Following a first try clearance at 17-1, Wolfle needed two attempts to get over 17-5. A first try clearance at 17-9 had Wolfle moving beyond 18-0, but three attempts at 18-1 (5.51) were unsuccessful. 
     
    Casey Strong finished seventh in the men’s hammer as he produced the fifth best performance on the Aggie all-time list with a toss of 196-3 (59.82).
     
    Amanda Jenkins ran the 1,500 in 4:37.71, placing third in the first heat of the event and ninth overall. Grace Fletcher (4:43.78) and Hillary Montgomery (4:48.84) finished 19th and 27th overall. In the women’s 5,000 meters Gabby Salazar placed 14th with a time of 17:30.02. Over 10,000 meters Tara Upshaw ran 37:14.80 for 11th place.
     
    Greg Coleman led a trio of 400m hurdlers with a time of 52.39 on a windy evening. He placed eighth overall among a field of 55 to advance to the final. Coleman was runner-up to Jeffery Gibson of Oral Roberts, who ran 51.28. The leading qualifying time was 50.83 by Michael Stigler of Kansas.
     
    Aikan Graham finished third in another heat with a 53.41 while Kenneth Minkah placed fifth in the final of seven heats with a 53.44. They finished 21st and 22nd overall.



    McKnight Advances for Razorbacks on Day Two in Texas

    AUSTIN, Texas – On day two of the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays at Mike A. Myers in Austin, Texas, University of Arkansas senior Makeba Alcide wrapped her season-opening heptathlon with a third-place finish. The Razorback multi-event standout finished the seven-event, two-day competition with 5,576 points. In preliminary competition Thursday, junior transfer Sparkle McKnight qualified for the event final in the 400-meter hurdles.
     
    Alcide capped day two of the heptathlon with a personal-best performance at 800 meters, finishing first in section two and third overall with a time of 2:16.22. With the performance she surpassed her previous best of 2:17.10 from the 2012 Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. Alcide posted marks of 5.54m/18-2.25 in the long jump and 31.68m/103-11 in the javelin to begin Thursday’s slate of events.
     
    Including her performance at 800 meters, the Razorback senior collected two lifetime-best results during the two-day competition. In Wednesday’s final event, Alcide lowered her personal best at 200 meters to 24.38. This week’s showing represents a high point score and finish in three career appearances at the Texas Relays. She previously had bests of 5,543 points scored and a fourth-place finish at the 2011 event.
     
    Arkansas’ preliminary action got underway Thursday with a qualifying performance by McKnight in the 400-meter relays. Running in heat eight of 11, the Razorback newcomer clocked a time of 58.58 and was the fourth-fastest overall qualifier for Friday’s nine-person final which will be run at 6:45 p.m. (CT). McKnight entered the weekend as the NCAA leader in the event with her time of 56.62 last weekend at the Texas State Elite.
     
    Friday competition for Arkansas at the Texas Relays will include preliminary heats at 100 meters, in the 100-meter hurdles and 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays. Running event finals are set for the 400-meter hurdles and in the sprint-medley relay. The Razorbacks will also have field entries in the high jump, pole vault, triple jump and javelin.  Arkansas has 17 Texas Relays event titles in program history.
     
    The Razorbacks are also scheduled for competition this weekend at their home Spring Invitational in Fayetteville and the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. Arkansas’ home meet begins Saturday at John McDonnell Field with field events slated for a 9:30 a.m. start. Running events begin at 1:30 p.m. The Razorbacks’ distance crew opens its season Friday at the Stanford event.
     
    For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com. Fans can also keep up with Arkansas cross country and track and field through the team’s sport-specific RazorbackTF Facebook and Twitter pages.



    Strawn PRs in Hammer Throw for Gators in Austin

    Seven Gators were in action on the second day of the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, presented by State Farm. Two members of the Orange and Blue stood out with their performances at the prestigious meet, held at the Mike A. Myers Stadium.
     
    “I’m very pleased with the overall effort of the teams today, particularly Kyle Strawn and Ugonna Ndu,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said.
     
    Sophomore Kyle Strawn (Temecula, Calif.) set a new personal best in the men’s hammer throw, utilizing his second throw of the meet to finish fourth with a mark of 62.36m/204-7.
     
    “Kyle stepping up in a big meet and setting a new personal best shows he has a bright future in this program,” Holloway commented.
     
    Strawn has thrown personal bests in the opening two weekends of the 2013 outdoor season, besting his previous PB of 62.20m/204-1 from the UCF Invitational last weekend. The California native, a transfer from UCSB, holds strong at second all-time at Florida.
     
    Senior Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.) qualified for the finals of the women’s 400-meter hurdles with her preliminary time of 58.59, just missing out on the heat victory behind Arkansas’ Sparkle McKnight. Ndu will race in the finals at 6:45 p.m. CT.
     
    “Ugonna is a senior and got her final season off to a great start today,” Holloway said. “I’m very proud of the work Coach (Steve) Lemke and Coach (Erin) Tucker have done with Kyle and Ugonna, respectively.”
     
    The Gators have a full day Friday, starting with the women’s javelin at 9:30 a.m. CT and the relays beginning on the track at 9:35 a.m. CT.
     
    “I’m looking forward to another exciting day from the Gators tomorrow,” Holloway finished. “It’s great to be a Florida Gator.”
     
    The four-day meet continues Friday, March 29 at Mike A. Myers Stadium and runs through Saturday, March 30. The headquarters for the Relays can be found here. The official hashtag for the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, for fans who want to follow all the action on Twitter, is #TXRelays13.
     
    The Longhorn Network will provide 18 original hours of programming throughout the meet. ESPN's Dave LaMont provides play-by-play throughout the meet, and former NCAA All-American athlete and current ESPN radio host Sean Adams serves as reporter. Rounding out the team, Larry Rawson, Emmy Award-winning track and field sportscaster, and Dwight Stones, track and field Olympian, serve as analysts.
     
    For all of the latest information on Florida track and field, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/trackfield or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida track and field on Twitter at @GZTrackField or www.twitter.com/GZTrackField. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.



    Lady Tigers Continue Relay Dominance with Win at Texas Relays

    AUSTIN, Texas – After winning a single-season meet record of four relay titles a season ago, the Lady Tigers scored their first relay victory of the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on Thursday night by running away with the women’s 4x800-meter relay for their fourth win in the event in six seasons at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
     
    Junior Thomas Reinecke smashed his lifetime PR in a runner-up finish in the B section fo the men’s pole vault, while junior Karen Henning and sophomore Jeremy Tuttle added personal-record performances with fifth-place finishes in the hammer throw to lead the way in the field events during the second day of action at this year’s Texas Relays.
     
    The Lady Tigers have dominated the 4x800-meter relay at the Texas Relays in recent years, and added to their trophy case with Thursday’s victory for their fourth win in the last six seasons.
     
    Led by a split of 2 minutes, 5 seconds on the anchor leg by NCAA Indoor champion Natoya Goule, the Lady Tigers cruised to victory in 8:41.25 while finishing nearly five seconds ahead of the runner-up team from Illinois crossing the finish line in 8:46.08. Goule brought home the victory following strong legs by senior Laura Carleton (2:12), senior Charlene Lipsey (2:08) and sophomore Samantha Levin (2:16) in the race.
     
    The Baylor Bears finished well back in third place at 8:46.77, followed by the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in fourth place at 8:58.42 and UCLA Bruins in fifth place at 8:59.53.
     
    The Lady Tigers have featured one of the nation’s strongest 4x800-meter relay teams in recent years as they claimed their fourth victory at the Texas Relays in six seasons on Thursday night following titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011. They have now won five Texas Relays titles in the event all-time while capturing their inaugural victory in 1985.
     
    While the Lady Tigers claimed LSU’s first event title at this year’s Texas Relays, Reinecke nearly defended his crown in the B section of the men’s pole vault while eclipsing his lifetime best by nearly five inches.
     
    Reinecke was strong throughout the competition as he cleared 17 feet, 1 inch on his first attempt, 17-5 on his third attempt and 17-9 on his first attempt before fouling out of the event with three misses at 18-1. With a career-best clearance of 17-9, Reinecke is now tied as the No. 5-ranked pole vaulter outdoors in the program’s storied history.
     
    Reinecke was one of three competitors clearing 17-9 in the pole vault final, but finished in second place based on the number of misses in the competition. Texas A&M freshman Chase Wolfle earned the victory with a clearance of 17-9, while Rice sophomore Chris Pillow claimed third place with an equal clearance of 17-9.
     
    Senior Joseph Caraway and junior Jaora Johnson also cleared lifetime bests in Thursday’s pole vault as Caraway cleared 17-5 to tie for fourth place and Johnson cleared 17-1 to tie for ninth place.
     
    It also proved to be a memorable day for two LSU hammer throwers as Henning and Tuttle each earned a fifth-place finish in their respective finals while setting matching personal records during the competition.
     
    Henning wasted no time in smashing her career best with an opening mark of 201-0 on her first throw of the day as she locked up a fifth-place finish in the women’s university hammer throw. Henning moved up a spot into the No. 3 position on LSU’s all-time list while eclipsing her previous PR of 197-2. Winning the women’s hammer throw at 236-9 was professional Amanda Bingson of Nike, followed by UCLA’s Ida Storm (217-1) in second place, Baylor’s Erin Atkinson (211-5) in third place and Akron’s Brittany Funk (204-9) in fourth place overall.
     
    Fellow junior Denise Hinton followed Henning in eighth place in the women’s final with a series-best throw of 187-3 on her sixth and final attempt of the competition.
     
    Tuttle matched Henning’s effort with a PR of his own at 201-0 in the third round of throws en route to a fifth-place finish in the men’s university hammer throw. UCLA’s Alec Faldermeyer (228-10) took home the men’s crown, followed by Oregon’s Greg Skipper (216-5) in second place, Abilene Chirstian’s Baptiste Kerjean (213-8) in third place and Florida’s Kyle Strawn (204-7) in fourth place.
     
    Tuttle cracked the LSU’s Top 10 list for the first time in his collegiate career as the No. 8-ranked hammer thrower in school history as he broke his previous PR by more than seven feet. He opened the season with a top mark of 193-6 at the Louisiana Classics back on March 16.
     
    “What a great way for both of our teams to open up the meet today,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “When you see so many personal bests being set this early in the season, it shows the competitive mindset of those athletes in making this trip and the potential they have to keep improving over the course of the outdoor season.
     
    “We hope this is the start of another great weekend for our teams at the Texas Relays. It’s a great opportunity for us to show some improvement as a team here this weekend.”
     
    Lady Tiger freshman Therese Jernbeck finished in eighth place in her first collegiate heptathlon as she ended Thursday’s action with 5,261 points in seven events over two days of competition at the Texas Relays.
     
    After opening the day by scoring 603 points with a series-best jump of 16-11 ¼ in the long jump, Jernbeck threw a seasonal best of 119-6 for 599 points in the javelin before clocking her new lifetime personal record of 2:14.67 for the fastest time of the day and an additional 897 points in the first heat of the 800-meter run.
     
    Jernbeck eclipsed her previous 800-meter PR of 2:15.98 set in her collegiate debut in the pentathlon at the Razorback Invitational during the indoor season. She actually set two lifetime bests in her first heptathlon as a Lady Tiger as she also cleared a career-best height of 5-7 ¾ in Wednesday’s high jump en route to a Day 1 score of 3,162 points.
     
    A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Jernbeck was just 63 points shy of her personal-best score of 5,324 points set as a member of Team Sweden at the 2011 European Junior Athletics Championships.
     
    Mississippi State sophomore and reigning NCAA Indoor pentathlon champion Erica Bougard took the heptathlon title at the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays with a national-leading score of 5,649 points in her two days of competition. Lindsay Vollmer of Kansas followed in second place with 5,578 points, while Makeba Alcide of Arkansas trailed in third place with 5,576 points.
     
    The Lady Tigers first took to the track in the qualifying round of the 400-meter hurdles as junior Nikita Tracey earned her spot in the final with a seasonal-best performance during Thursday’s preliminary action.
     
    While running in the last of 11 qualifying heats, Tracey posted a seasonal-best time of 58.76 seconds to finish runner-up to Texas’ Danielle Dowie (58.22) in the race as the sixth-fastest qualifier of the day.  She earned a spot in the championship final that is scheduled to run at 6:45 p.m. CT on Friday night at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
     
    Fellow junior Shana-Gaye Tracey finished in 13th place in Thursday’s qualifying with a run of 1:00.22, while sophomore Chanice Chase ran 1:02.53 to finish in 39th place overall.
     
    The 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays continues Friday morning with the field events at 9:30 a.m. CT before the Tigers and Lady Tigers take to the track for the first relay prelims of the morning session at 9:35 a.m. LSU is set to start the afternoon session is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., followed by the evening session at 5:30 p.m. with the field events and 6 p.m. with the first relay finals on the track.



    Day Two at Relays Concludes With Mississippi State Win

    AUSTIN, Texas – Action continued in Austin on Thursday as day two of the 86th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays wrapped with a first-place heptathlon finish from Mississippi State sophomore Erica Bougard.
     
    With 3,570 points under her belt after the first day of competition, Bougard entered the remainder of the heptathlon battle in the lead.  After jumping a second-place 19-03.25 in the long jump to pick up 810 points, the Lady Bulldog threw 86-08 in the javelin to gain another 409 points. Her previous performances, coupled with a time of 2:17.34 in the 800-meter run, solidified her spot in first. Bougard collected 5,649 points over the two-day event to win at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
     
    MSU’s momentum only continued as javelin thrower Allison Storey posted 138-10 to place her second on the school’s all-time performer list. Her personal-best throw placed her eighth overall.
     
    Also seeing action for the women was newcomer Cornelia Griesche, who ran in the 3000-meter steeplechase. The freshman clocked 10:39.41 to land a fifth-place finish.
     
    On the men’s side, distance veteran John Valentine posted a time of 9:13.99 in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase to finish 14th.
     
    Races conclude Thursday in Texas with the men’s 5000-meter run, followed by the 10,000-meter run at 10:30 p.m.  Stay tuned for updates by following the Bulldogs on Twitter (@msutracksarah) or visit texassports.com.